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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Floral Arrangement Prep The Prudent Homemaker

This post contains an affiliate link.

I cut flowers from the garden.

We harvested Katy apricots, blackberries, chocolate mint, peppermint, chamomile, green onions, and Mission figs from the garden.

I planted seeds for Dark Opal basil and Armenian cucumbers in the garden.

I received an email advertising a discount for season tickets for the Philharmonic. Purchasing them, even with a 10% discount, is not in my budget. I read through the concerts and noticed that one of them was for Dvorak. I love Dvorak's "New World Symphony," so I decided to enjoy it now. I looked up the piece on You Tube and enjoyed listening to and watching the New York Philharmonic perform the piece.

We spent Memorial Day organizing and tidying several things inside and out, so that we can enjoy our home more. 

I used garlic ear oil to treat my ear infection. One dose is usually all it takes, and that was the case this time too.

I opened the windows each morning to air out and cool the house. I was able to keep them open until 9:30 a.m. each morning before the house heated to 79°F/26°C, which is how hot I keep the house in summer (that won't be the case this week, as that was the low temperature this morning!)

My husband took several of our children with him to help his sister (who recently moved and downsized considerably) load a trailer of items to donate. He brought home several items, including tools and tool boxes, a package of balloons, and some white paper lunch bags. 

I bought nothing at all last week.

What did you do to save money last week?



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  • Marcia R. June 04, 2018

    May did not turn out to be the best month for us, and so far June hasn't been too great either. My husband, who has been the healthiest person ever, has not been doing as well lately. I have noticed problems with his memory but in the past month or two these have increased. Also, today he is experiencing his second bout of extreme dizziness in two weeks. I started him on the pills the doctor gave us after the first time but they have not been very helpful so far. Between the 2 of us, we had 11 medical encounters in May, and I had to change my grocery shopping to a different day twice to accomodate everything. We have an appointment next week to have my husband evaluated by a neurologist for the memory problems and the dizziness. On the positive side--this has cost us very little out of pocket, since our medical insurance covers almost all costs. Medicare pays first, then my private insurance pays 80% of the rest and we pay the other 20%. It's seldom over $50 and often under $20. It often takes 3-5 months to figure out what I do owe, so I can't tell yet what this will cost. The prescriptions have not been expensive at all--in fact, one cost us twenty tree cents! I am considerably concerned however, that the memory problems and the dizziness---at least so far----are two separate problems. And one of them looks a lot like some kind of dementia to me. I really am getting to the point where I just need an answer so I know what to expect in the future. We are supposed to go away for the weekend for a car club event--but we will NOT be having husband drive his 50 year old car, and I REFUSE to drive it, so he will get a choice of having me drive him in my Toyota and just taking his photos of his car, or staying at home. I'll see how he feels tomorrow before we discuss that. He has another car that he is no longer interested in restoring, which is needed. I would like him to think about selling it although it is in pieces at the moment. I think it needs the engine rebuilt, and possibly the transmission also plus a lot of body work. It's not worth a ton of money but I would like to get it out of the barn if he is not going to restore it. Someone who is younger and interested needs to be found, and a vintage Saab weekend is a good place to find such a person! Luckily my food stores have been kept up pretty well and there are no distinct shortages right now. I've just been picking up good specials as they present themselves, and keeping everything organized. Thinking of trying to hire someone to help with housework and/or gardening, as there is just not enough time in my day lately, and my husband is unable to help as much as he normally would. He can't seem to remember where anything goes so I have to kind of keep my eyes on him to prevent things from getting too lost. On a happy note, he did notice that one of our favorite Craft/Art shows was this past weekend, and he wanted to go with me. We had a good time walking around although we spent very little--I bought a hand made glass pendant to wear on a chain, and we each had a glass of lemondade. Also, our best friends returned from their winter home in Arizona and we met them for dinner one night at a favorite restaurant. As we hadn't been out much in a while, there was money in the budget for this under entertainment. The third couple, who sometimes go with us also, are having health problems as well, and it seems like the wife is going to need to go into nursing care very soon. Not at all happy about this, even though they are a bit older than we are. He wants to sell his house and get an apartment for one, which will be lonely for him. He will visit his wife but he won't be spending 24 hours a day there. I feel bad for them, but he is beyond his capabilities with the care he is trying to do for her now. Not such a cheery time around here, but it's spring, and the flowers are blooming!! And it's cooler this week so we're not into potato salad and carrot sticks, like we were last week! Trying to look on the bright side, because there IS always a bright side.

  • I'm sorry about your husband's health issues, Marcia. If your doctor hasn't already ruled it out, it might be worth checking to see if vertigo is what is causing the dizziness. It's affected several older men I know, but there are treatments. In terms of dementia, early intervention is always best, and there are many coping strategies that can be put into place to aid memory. If your husband is diagnosed with dementia, be sure to ask for a referral to a support group; they generally have wonderful resources. Best of luck!

  • Kerri June 05, 2018

    One possibility for both the memory lapses and the dizziness could be a TIA or mini-stroke. Next time he has an episode, ask him to smile and speak. Also get him to squeeze your fingers. If there is weakness or a facial droop, this is it for sure and he needs a referral to a neurologist. Sometimes, it can be caused by side effects of medication so discuss what he is taking with the doctor to see if this might be the cause. Best of luck to you both.

  • Marcia R. June 08, 2018

    The first time he had dizziness, we spent the entire day at the ER, having lots of tests, including CT and MRI. He had no stroke or TIA symptoms. We have an appt with a neurologist next week. Also, he has only been taking one medication for high blood pressure until they gave him meclizine for the dizziness. I will see about a support group if it turns out that he has some kind of dementia. Thanks for all the helpful ideas. I am really looking forward to getting some kind of response from the doctors.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada June 05, 2018

    Margaret@Approaching Food mentions vertigo. I myself had vestibulitis so badly that the doctors thought I'd had a stroke. I know it is not easy not to worry about this. You do need to pursue this until an answer is found. And I am glad that you have ample medical insurance. If your husband has been healthy up to this point and the forgetfulness is of sudden onset, then it is unlikely (not totally impossible) it is Alzheimer's. There is, however, more than one type of dementia. So I will keep my fingers crossed and prayers for you both. I myself had walking pneumonia for about a year, was dizzy, was forgetful (I kept thinking I'd had a stroke), etc. (Breaking my arm on the way to get a chest xray to see if I had pneumonia was a blessing in disguise because if I'd had to wait for results, I probably would have died in the meantime. Instead antibiotics were started that day.) I also have a folate deficiency from time to time and it affects my memory. Seniors are more likely to have a folate deficiency and it can lead to a reversible dementia. I'd make sure his nutritional status like B12 levels and folate levels are tested, even if you eat lots of veggies etc. So there are many different causes for forgetfulness. It is good he is going to see a neurologist soon. I think it is a great idea for you to hire some housekeeping help and some gardening help. You need to look after yourself and such help would be a good start. You'll be in my prayers. Ann

  • Marcia R. June 08, 2018

    The forgetfulness has been a problem over at least a couple years--it just suddenly got considerably worse. I will see if I can talk him into a multivitamin. I take one but he never has. He has never been tested for vitamin levels as far as I know.
    Thank you all for your suggestions.

  • Yvonne June 12, 2018

    Ellie's friend from Canada, these are good ideas you present. I once found myself in a grocery store, and realized I didn't know how I had got there--had no memory of driving or where I came from. It frightened me so badly, I immediately made a Dr. appointment. My Dr. prescribed vitamin B12 and tested me to see if I had low levels. Sure enough! I have taken B12 faithfully since then and haven't had any further problems like that. Thank goodness! Good luck, Marcia!

  • Anne June 05, 2018

    Marcia : The following condition may be worth checking out in reference to your husband’s issues. My family member knew a gentleman who suffered with what was thought to be dementia for many months before he was correctly diagnosed. His situation completely reversed with fairly simple intervention. Normal pressure hydrocephalus is a brain disorder in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain's ventricle, causing thinking and reasoning problems, difficulty walking and loss of bladder control.

  • Shelley June 04, 2018

    Hi Frugal Friends,

    Well this was the first week at home with the kids off school. I saved on gas for my van. I feel like my food budget may have to go up with these kiddos always around though.

    Ate all meals at home.

    Found a few great deals at the grocery store. Trying a low spend month for June. We shall see how it goes

  • TCR June 04, 2018

    I love nail polish. OPI brand is one of my faves. Here it is typically $9-$15 per bottle. Just happened to run in our local discount store. They had brand-new bottles for $1. I bought 31 bottles, shared some duplicate colors with my sister. I've read on some blogs that properly closed and stored this product can last 20-30 years. I don't care what shades are fashionable. I simply like the colors that I like and look good with my skin tone.
    These bins at discount store sometimes go down to 25 cents, I'll be on lookout and if they do load up to donate to the ladies who polish residents' nails at local senior facilities.

  • Rhonda A. June 04, 2018

    What a beautiful flower arrangement on your table, Brandy! I really love the look of the multiple canning jars filled with various flowers. I'm glad you were able to find a way to enjoy the music without spending a dime on going to a show and for treating an ear issue without having to see a Dr.

    Our frugal accomplishments for this week included:
    *Meals made at home included crockpot meatballs in gravy with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with salad, hamburger helper with corn, breaded fish with potato wedges and mixed veggies, BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with side salad (from my garden, see below), and waffles topped with fresh strawberries and bananas, maple syrup and whipped cream.
    *Used store loyalty points for $30 worth of free groceries. Also, after waiting for months, the sweet potato fries finally went on sale at Costco...so I bought 2 bags. Glad to finally have that off my stock up list!
    *Picked some rhubarb from the plants at work to bring home. There are several plants at work, all of them large and needing to be harvested. The rhubarb was washed, cut and frozen for later use.
    *Harvested spinach, baby romaine and baby Swiss chard from my garden. I used the greens mixed with feta cheese to make a lovely side salad to go with BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs one night.
    *Made deep fried apple fritters over the open fire/hearth at work this week. They were a huge hit with staff! Every time I make things like this, I realize that living on a strict budget doen't mean you can't have some very frugal treats once in a while. These really were not expensive to make, but taste divine!
    *Made soda bread in a traditional Dutch Oven (not the same as the modern Dutch oven pots) for the 1st time by myself, using hot coals from the open firepit. It turned out amzing! Very proud of myself for this accomplishment.
    *Received another free bag of popcorn from work when the food booth had a bunch of leftovers. Shared it with DD.
    *Hubby and I had a little date night on Wednesday. We checked out an auction, but didn't find anything we wanted to wait around for. So we went out for dinner at a local restaurant, where we both ordered a panzerotti (each cost about $14). They were so huge, I could barely eat 1/3 of mine. Even hubby took home half of his, and he can really pack food away when he wants to. I ended up eating the leftovers for 3 lunches!
    *I bought DD and I a soft, comfy, long sleeve top each, plus a pair of inexpensive sunglasses. Used coupons for $20 off so only paid $28 OOP for everything. I will save my new top and sunglasses for our trip next April. DD can use her new top for school next September.
    *DD and I attended a free presentation on medieval combat through our local Autism Ontario chapter. The presentation was organized for the adult autism group but they extended an invite to teen 15yrs +. They talked about the armour and weapons they used, with demos and examples. At the end, they did a sword fight for us. DD lost interest and ended up sitting in the car for over an hour. I, on the other hand, was quite interested and stayed for the whole presentation. Talked to the presenters afterwards and may try to organize a group trip to their site with some of my co-workers this summer! He suggested we may be able to get a discounted group rate if I email him to make arrangements for tickets.

    Other stuff worth sharing:
    *On Friday, when I came home from work, DD was quite excited to tell me about her school day (usually I have to pry info out of her). Apparently they had a practice school lock down scheduled in the morning. The school is aware that changes in schedule and unexpected events can throw off DD, so they prepared her ahead and planned to go to an empty classroom for the drill. Everything went fine. Then after lunch, another alarm went off, but this time the announcement said "this is not a test". DD and her 2 support staff scrambled to the tiny, walk-in closet sized room that is dedicated to DDs use only, and locked themselves in for a real legit school lockdown. Confused and a bit scared, the support staff tried texting to find out what was going on, all while they hid quietly in the room and trying to stay calm. Suddenly they heard footsteps coming down the hall with the distinct sound of keys rattling. The next thing they heard was someone opening their door. All of them nearly had a heart attack, thinking they were about to die...but were instantly relieved to see someone from the guidance office standing in the doorway. Good thing DD didn't let out a scream, as that would have sent a wave of panic to other students in nearby classrooms! They were informed that gunshot type sounds, were heard on the school property, which resulted in the entire school being put into lockdown. Police were called to investigate. It turned out some kids had decided to let off some fireworks on school property, which, of course, sounds like gunfire. All ended well and everyone was fine. Afterwards her support staff just gave up on the idea of doing any type of school work with DD and they all watched a movie until it was time to go home. I think they all needed something to calm the nerves after the dramatic events of the day.
    *Found this on pinterest and wanted to share with everyone, in case someone is looking for something frugal to do in the summer. It is a lavender labrynth in Shelby, Michigan that is free to go through. Here is the website with the info: http://www.cherrypointmarket.net/

    Looking forward to reading everyone's comments as I get time over the week. You all inspire me so much!

  • Ellie's friend from Canada June 05, 2018

    Thanks for the link to the lavender labryinth. How lovely. Glad all ended well at DD's school.

  • Elizabeth June 04, 2018

    I adore that symphony as well! Thanks for the link

  • Liz June 04, 2018


    Brandy, I love, love the flowers. So much beauty!

    This past week was the first full week my children have been off from school. I am always on the lookout for free, fun, activities for them to do. Here are some things I did to save and have fun this week.
    - This past week, I was able to get my daughter into a free summer tennis camp. It was an hour, through the parks and recreation center. She also received a free water bottle and Frisbee for attending.
    - My son (who has asthma) ended up with walking pneumonia this week. I tried all I could to keep that cost down. This involved, for us waiting longer at the on post clinic, rather than paying more out of pocket off post. I also got all his medications there so that I didn't have to pay a co pay on all of them.
    - Dealing with the pneumonia and all took away some of my time for other activities that I had planned but he is doing better now. Praying for a complete recovery.
    - There were some good deals at Walgreens this week, that I was able to get yesterday. I found confectioners sugar boxes and brown sugar boxes on sale for $1.29. There is a coupon for $1.00 off each in the monthly coupon booklet. This was a great deal and I stocked up and bought 7 boxes.
    - I was able to take the kids to a free play at the local arts center.
    - I also signed both kids up at the library for the summer reading program. My daughter is very excited and checking off her list. My son likes to listen to audio books. I find a lot of them at our library. There are also many on You Tube that he listens to for free. He has listened to the Harry Potter Series over and over this way.
    - I have renewed my interest in finding mail freebies and online freebies. I have been getting many of them lately. I wrote about this on my blog if you are looking for current freebies. http://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/06/04/10-freebies-by-mail-download/ It is much nicer to receive a random freebie than a bill!
    - My middle school son is attending a 3D printing class this week at the local community college. This was not cheap or frugal. But, by being frugal in other areas, I am happy that he can attend and learn a fun, challenging skill that I cannot teach him at home. I always save cash up for summer expenses so that my children have enriching activities to attend. There was also a discount I was able to get on the classes that I put him in.
    - I used our zoo pass to meet up with several friends at the zoo. We had a nice time and it was already paid for. I have used it enough times now to pay back the fee that I paid. I have a group of friends that we have been doing this with and the children all enjoy it and the moms get a time to talk and hang out.
    - I watered my garden and continue to see growth. I haven't harvested anything just yet. I fed my chickens and collected eggs. I cooked many meals at home.
    I think that is about it for now!
    Have a wonderful week!

  • Jo June 04, 2018

    Your flowers look beautiful!

      My husband and I had a big budget meeting this week and adjusted several areas. Hopefully it will work out!

      I got a job! At the moment it will only be 10 hours a fortnight but there are opportunities to increase these in the future. I have also enrolled for a study course so if I get accepted into that this should be a good balance.

      I submitted paperwork for a fuel reimbursement.

      All meals were made at home except for two dinners at my in-laws house. My husband took leftovers as work lunches and we're still enjoying the chocolates we were given during our holiday. I repurposed some leftovers to make lunches for myself during the week.

      We resisted the urge to order pizza for several nights!

      I washed and vacuumed my old car to get a better trade-in value.

      I shopped my own wardrobe for the job interview and then caught the bus there to avoid parking fees.

      The lovely fruit & veg store owner gave me a discount on their last jar of honey and then rounded down the total amount of my bill. He would not listen to my protests. ;)

      We received a fuel discount of4cts/l thanks to our loyalty card.

      We signed up for a discounted gym membership, had the joining fees waived and will use their showers everytime we go there.

      We found five recycling bottles during our delivery round and also spotted two toddler ride-on toys at the curb. We came back with the car to pick these up, they'll come in handy eventually and all they needed was a clean!

      We combined errands whenever possible and took our water bottles along.

      We washed four full loads of laundry and dried everything on racks. We washed two full loads of dishes and saved the warm-up water whenever hand-washing.

      I baked several things at once and used the residual heat to warm up the kitchen.

      My SIL gave us lemons, oranges and red onions.

      The heater was on for 25.5 hours this week - a slight improvement but we can do better!

    Wishing everyone a lovely week!

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba June 05, 2018


    Excerpts from the New World Symphony were such fun to play in high school band!

    Here is what we did to save money last week:
    * I combined two errands that were both farther from home into one trip.
    * We left the A/C off as much as possible and used a fan instead.
    * We took advantage of sales to purchase multiples of what we use daily anyway.
    * We paid bills online to get them paid faster and to save postage.
    * I had friends over for breakfast, and all I needed to purchase was eggs (our digestive systems are not tolerant to eggs).
    * I prepared clients' cards and gifts to deliver them when I would see them anyway (and saved postage).
    * I promoted a referral partner through my blog, which cost me just my time.
    * I continued to line dry our laundry.
    * I asked for the networking group to which I belong to pay for postage for cards I would be sending on behalf of the group.
    * I cooked a chicken in the oven at a low temperature overnight to avoid heating up the house as much as possible.
    * I learned a new way to cook my husband's breakfast that will save me time in the morning and will save electricity, using the thermal cooker you recommended a few years ago, Brandy. Thank you!

  • Siiri June 05, 2018

    I was kind of non-frugal to take my teenage daughter out for summer clothes shopping. She was in need of that stuff. I took her to New Yorker store. She found shorts and 2 t-shirts and I was happy to buy them because those were modest!

  • Elizabeth June 05, 2018

    1. We found a huge box of Duplos for $3 at the thrift store
    2. Kroger had nice deals on cheese (32oz for $5), laundry detergent (1.99), and salad dressing ($1.49, but I got 2 for $.99 with a coupon)
    3. We found lots of great books for just $.50 each at our library's book sale
    4. My daughter had a giftcard to use at Books a million and was delighted to find a huge selection of YA books in the bargain area, which stretched the card even more.
    5. I have been slaving away on writing out study guides and assignment sheets for homeschool this upcoming year. I try to spend less than $100 on curriculum each year, so that means a lot of the planning falls on my shoulders...but I kinda like it:)

  • Juls Owings June 05, 2018

    We are in the last 2 months of working on the house we bought (according to the contractor who said 4 wks.) Both of us are driving so the pup isn't caged 12 hrs a day. Using fuel cards and Gas Buddy to save us money in that area, make sure we take FULL loads with us to store in barn until we can move completely. Head contractor noted we didn't have towel bars on site and offered to pick them up for the kitchen and 2 baths for $90 total. I went out the barn and brought it the pack of Command hooks I had bought on sale with a coupon (and rebate LOL). Trying telling me they wouldn't work in the bathroom and I showed him the ones they make for bathrooms let alone we have used the same one for 8 yrs here in the bathroom. He called his wife and told her he was picking up some of these as the kids keep striping out the screws of the towel holder in their bathroom.

    Bought groceries when both frigs didn't have a single produce between them. Saved 25 % plus got rebates back of another 1%. Except for milk and ice cream I shouldn't have to go back for the month.

    We only have strawberries (3 ft by 80 ft patch )at the other house that ran us over so I asked the neighbor if she would like to pick them . She canned pie filling and jam and gave us 12 pints in exchange for the "gift". Said she did 24 qrts of each for her own family (family of 9). I told her yesterday she needs to come pick again. I have rhubarb here, canned 12 pints. Garlic scapes are coming on so will have those to add to meals this week. When we are over to the other house we split a meal from the local general store. Yesterday we have chicken noodles , mashed potatoes and a roll for $5.99. I still brought some of it home.

    Hubby bought a diesel generator with portable welder on small trailer so when we move he can go into welding for the Amish. He got it for 1/4th of the going price at an on line auction. He went to look at it and it was owned by the auctioneer that had used it as a back up generator for his house. Had noted on the generator that he had used it 3 times in the past 8 yrs and never used the welder. Gave Hubby an additional 10 % off when he told him why he was buying it.

    I borrowed my son's leaf blower to clean out the over head loft in the barn. No sense buying one to clean the barn one time and I doubt if I will need to do it again since we won't be storing hay in it.

    I love your flowers, Brandy. I love how you add them to your home to bring the cheeriness of them in.
    Blessed Be

  • Marybeth June 05, 2018

    Great to know about the garlic oil. I had chronic ear infections as a kid and my son did too. Went to an ENT specialists 4 years ago and she recommend a mixture of rubbing alcohol and vinegar put in a dropper. At first pains I put in 2 drops twice a day. I haven't had an ear infection since. She also recommend that I do it after swimming since swimmers ear was always a problem for me. I love when doctors give a natural solution instead of pushing antibiotics. Just wish I had known about the solution sooner.

    All of my gardens are in. I even made a strawberry patch with stuff I had. $6 for the plants was all it cost me. My daughter and I cleaned out my kitchen pantry. It looks so good. I smile every time I look in. Now I am working on my storage. I have a box of items that are recently expired or about to expired. I changed around dinner last night and used 3 items. For lunch I used 1 item. Now I know what has to be used soon. It will take me all week because I am pulling apart shelves and scrubbing the floors. I can only do a little at a time since I have to let everything dry and then put it back before moving onto the next rack. It will be so nice when i am done. The rest of my week is here : https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/06/my-frugal-list-week-of-may-27-2018.html

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